Trying to map out what exactly Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook) is trying to do at any given moment is a bit like playing pin the tail on the donkey—that is if both the tail and the donkey were constantly moving targets.
Season 4 of Jesse Armstrong’s Succession has brought us, Shiv, at her most indecisive — well, or so we think. It’s entirely possible that her apparent indecisiveness is actually one large ploy to distract her enemies, whoever they may be at any given time. But then again, it could just simply be that Shiv doesn’t know what she really wants, and that spans from her career all the way to her relationship with Tom (Matthew Macfadyen).
Now that we’re over halfway through with the final season of Succession, it’s officially time to kick things into a somehow even higher gear and ask a question that’s becoming more and more pertinent by each episode: what’s Shiv’s end goal for all of this?
To Roy or Not to Roy
Over the years we’ve known Shiv, we’ve become fairly accustomed to her going back and forth when it came to being a part of the family business at Waystar Royco, but since Season 3, it’s become more apparent that she’s actually fairly serious about playing a major role in the company. In Season 4, she was genuinely hurt and offended (and rightfully so) after being completely left out of the discussion for CEO consideration, but now with her odd, blooming friendship with GoJo CEO, Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård), it’s making us wonder if she even cares at all about what happens to Waystar.
It’s clear that Matsson has some debatable intentions when it comes to his GoJo deal with Kendall (Jeremy Strong) and Roman (Kieran Culkin), and Shiv’s definitely been using those intentions to her advantage as of late. Regardless of whether her newfound flirtationship with Matsson actually throws a wrench into the deal is another thing, it’s definitely starting to get into the heads of her brothers, which might actually be the true intention of it all.
Having even one out of her two CEO brothers down for the count could create the potential opportunity for a Shiv coup, and given both Kendall and Roman’s recent breakdowns in Episode 6 of Season 4, this might be the perfect time for Shiv to make her move.
The Tom and Shiv Problem
While we might’ve known that Shiv and Tom’s relationship was doomed before they even said “I do,” Tom certainly wasn’t as skeptical about their relationship as we were. Though he’s largely woken up to the painful realities of his marriage to Shiv throughout these four seasons, no time has been more confusing for their relationship than this fourth season has been.
For one, it was revealed that Shiv was pregnant, and though we never actually found out who the father was, a solid portion of people just assume that it’s Tom. Given the pair’s recent reconnection in Episode 6 of Season 4, it’s definitely clear that there’s some unfinished business between them both, but the intentions behind this could be something a bit different.
Both Tom and Shiv seemed pretty set on getting divorced, but once Logan (Brian Cox) suddenly died in the third episode of Season 4, things between the two have softened quite a bit. At first, it might’ve just been Shiv’s need to have someone close to her at this time in her life, but given her track record for cheating, it really doesn’t seem like something that’ll last for much longer. Perhaps Shiv’s decision to keep Tom close is yet another power play on her part: keeping your enemies close is a long-held saying for a reason.
Now, Shiv could use Tom in a few different ways: one, as a person who has more of a pull when it comes to the older, senior members of the Waystar gang, and two, as someone who will — by his own fault — always be loyal to her no matter how terribly she treats him. Because, let’s be honest, there’s no way that Tom isn’t going to end up heartbroken after their recent reconnection.
With all of this said, what is Shiv’s end goal? Logically speaking, it could be one of two things: Shiv is actually just an extremely indecisive person who genuinely can’t make up her mind when it comes to decisions, meaning that she really doesn’t have an end goal — she’s just sort of flailing all over the place. On the other hand, each of these seemingly all-over-the-place decisions could actually be a part of a larger power play to take over Waystar. Realistically speaking, however, it’s more likely to be a mix of the two.
Whether it’s eventually pursuing her long-held political ambitions or just wanting to be the CEO of Waystar in and of itself, Shiv definitely has a craving for power, and both of these moves directly involve that. This interest in becoming CEO could be a ploy to solidify herself in a more general sense for whatever she wants to pursue after becoming CEO, but then again, it could also simply be that she just wants the almighty power of being the head of a major media company.
Either way, she’s definitely thrown herself into the mix enough for her aspirations to be taken seriously as a real threat to both Kendall and Roman. Shiv’s been working behind the scenes for quite some time to make something happen for her, but what exactly that something has still yet to be revealed.
Given that we only have a few episodes of the series left, it’s well past time for Succession to make its own power play: is Shiv capable of outsmarting her brothers in exchange for the throne? The short answer to that question is a resounding yes. But will she be able to make up her mind and actually make that happen? Well, that’s another story.